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Anchoring Their Future

August 21, 2019

By Tim Kelly

DOC Communications

(Tim Kelly, DOC Communications)

There are many jobs incarcerated individuals can have while in prison. One of the more unique jobs can be found at McNeil Island, helping to repair boats. Inmates from Cedar Creek Corrections Center in Littlerock come to the island to work on maintaining the ferries that transport people daily to the island. Gary Taimanglo, the shipwright supervisor, is in charge of the maintenance on the boats and is a mentor to those incarcerated.

“That (the training) helps to build a resume for these guys, and by the time they're ready for work release or out the gate, they have all the skills and experience, enough to get hired,” said Taimanglo.

A success story can be found with current Vigor employee, Jimmy Johns. Vigor is an industrial business that specializes in ship building and repair. Johns came to Vigor after he released from Cedar Creek. He had experience working on boats before going to prison and was thrilled to learn he could work on boats while incarcerated. About a month before he was to go to work release, he interviewed with Vigor via a phone interview and was hired before he even left prison. He has been working with them ever since.

“At the beginning, I feel like the life I live, I didn’t deserve it. The amount of love everybody has at this company for someone like me who’s made so many mistakes, not just once but over and over. You can call it a second chance but it’s really a third, fourth, fifth chance,” said Johns.

Partnerships with employers like Vigor help the department in its mission to improve public safety because it encourages community interaction. Currently, there are four employees that were previously incarcerated at Cedar Creek and now work at Vigor. Incarcerated individual Jonathan Mayhall currently works at McNeil and hopes to follow in Jimmy Johns' path and work for Vigor.

“To have the opportunity from prison to come out here to a facility like this with a vast array of equipment and training and then to be able to step out of being incarcerated and get into an actual career opportunity. It’s a phenomenal opportunity,” Mayhall said.